The Roanoke Times:
The Bedford Bulletin:
Sure, an offender could tell the state his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and his MySpace page is PotentialReoffender. But nothing prevents him from having a dozen accounts, all with innocuous sounding screen names and profiles.
McDonnell acknowledges that offenders could dupe the state but said they would face charges. As if a predator seeking to commit a despicable felonious act with a child will actually break a sweat worrying whether the commonwealth will discover he has an unregistered screen name.
In addition, the sad fact remains that the Internet is crawling with sexual predators who have never run afoul of the law and are not required to register on any government list.
The Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads):
Presumably, if a registered offender changed an e-mail address without notifying authorities, that would constitute a violation of their probation. But that could be difficult to monitor. What could be more practical would be to ban their use of access to the Internet altogether.
Ultimately the best chance children and teens have for safe Internet surfing is for their use to be closely monitored by parents.
Laws sound good, but good parenting makes the real difference.
McDonnell is right to be concerned about the issue, but if his loud endorsement causes parents to ease up on supervising children's Internet use, the effort will be worse than irrelevant. The idea is so ridiculously full of holes that any predator familiar with such obscure Internet technologies as Yahoo! and Google can get around it with a minute's effort.
The only predators McDonnell's effort will catch - and the only parents he will reassure - are those who don't know anything about the Internet.
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